Monday, March 30, 2009


Bear with me please as I make some changes to my blog. I accepted the "layout" change and I have to get up to speed on how to add back some of the elements to my sidebar and footer, because they disappeared!
As old Heraclitus said,
"Nothing endures but change."
May as well shake things up yourself, because change is the only thing we can count on.
One of the changes I found out about this past week is that my design for Clara Parkes' upcoming book, The Knitter's Book of Wool was dropped. Yes, I was a bit bummed, but we're figuring out a way to still have it associated with Clara, so stay tuned. Also, I still can't wait until the book comes out--it will be wonderful.

There were many other changes last week, but I won't go into it all. I'm just absorbing them and moving on. (But I seemed to have lost my sense of humor today--if anyone finds it, could ya mail it back to me? Thanks.)
Instead, I want to look back a bit at some generosity surrounding me lately. I was contacted a few months ago about Camp Yawatink, a knitting retreat given by one of our nearby yarn shops. I put the request in my TO DO folder and forgot about it for a few weeks. Then I found it and decided to call on a couple of friends to go into it with us and donate some goodies. I got yarn from Kristi at Shalimar:

(Zoe Sock)

And from Chuck & Robin at Pagewood Farm:(Yukon sock, all)

Actually, you see that skein of purple goodness right in front--I swiped that one for a sock design.

Each one of these gorgeous skeins of yarn helped make sock kits along with our Fundamental Top-down Sock pattern. I was so amazed at the generosity of these yarn companies. I was also amazed to get thank you notes from two lovely ladies who attended the retreat. This makes about the fourth event we've donated to, but these are the first thank you notes I've ever received from attendees. Kristi, Chuck, and Robin, the thanks are for you, too!

Thanks for the thanks, Janice & Sylvia!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Groggy FO's

I think it'd be best if I said little today--up at 1:30 this morning because I couldn't sleep. Words...not...coming. Look instead.

Honeycomb Cable Cap
What a party at the top!

Finished my Lauren in Cascade Eco Alpaca

...and the back (wish you could see the detail).

That better?

Turned out even better than I had hoped. So soft! I wish you could feel.

Going to take nap now...zzzz...zzzz.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Meadowood & The Big Easy

I'm constantly re-evaluating and trying to make the pattern line as versatile and useful as possible, so I have known for a while that we needed more home décor patterns as well as patterns for beginner knitters. I decided to combine these two agenda and provide knitters with a couple of non-scarf rectangles.

The first is a table runner (also may be a dresser scarf or whatever you need for it to be) made from panels of two different lace stitch patterns. I thought the Twin Leaf Lace pattern went quite well with the wheat sheaf one, and as I always do, I chose them for their compatible row repeat. When combining stitch patterns, I like for them to play well together and all go home at the same point.

The Meadowood Table Runner is a really good beginning lace project. You can learn some simple as well as advanced decreases and the length of the project gives you lots of practice without any other issues getting in the way.

The sample you see here was knit by sweet Sue in Cascade Pima Tencel in color 4084. It's very soft and pretty.

What I really don't have enough of in the Figheadh line are truly beginner patterns. Ya know, something with no shaping, only knit and purl stitches and minimal finishing. Well, here's The Big Easy to the rescue! As with my Little Charlie Brown Sampler Blanket, The Big Easy changes stitch pattern every few rows to combat boredom. The Big Easy also has a generous garter stitch edge, which we all know practically finishes itself. I chose three geometric knit/purl patterns that were also stitch-repeat and row-repeat compatible and both separated and surrounded them with garter stitch. They all work well together to make a very nice blanket. The pattern has numbers for a lap version or a bit larger throw and this "lapghan" sample was knit by Betsy the Great--she used Cascade Greenland, a cozy, washable merino that is fatter and more hearty than their 220 Superwash--more of an Aran-weight yarn. The color seen here is #3539.

After we were done with this blanket, it occurred to me that if I was going to use the nickname for the amazing New Orleans, I should let The Big Easy Blanket help them, so all profits from this pattern will always go to PNOLA, an organization that is rebuilding homes in the Lower Mid-City neighborhood of "Nawlins" (as we say in Alabama).
Off to try to do some yoga, some knitting, some pattern writing and some other business.
All of you have a wonderful St. Pat's tomorrow! Sláinte Mhath!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Lulu & the Ollipheist

Spring's almost here and even though these ladies had to wear underthings because of the fall shoot for these "warm weather" garments, these next two new designs from Figheadh will be great for spring and summer.
First, here's Little Lulu, a sun hat and dress that lets you have fun with some lace and some fancy edges. Doesn't Lucy look sweet? This sample is made with Rowan Calmer, a wonderful cotton blend so fun to knit with. It's stretchy!

I have long needed some patterns for lighter wear and a few more feminine designs for the ladies. Little Lulu is just the first of these in the baby category.

This design had its name long before I was fortunate enough to have Lucy join us for our photo shoot. Not only did she model Lulu, but she also modeled the new sample of Little Charlie Brown that Betsy and Bonnie made for me. Serendipitous, no?

Now get ready for visual evidence of how talented our photographer, Jeff Hobson is. Here's a couple of models at the first of Jeff's shoot:

"We're not playing along and you can't make us. So there. Phooey."

...and about two minutes later...

"Okay, Mr. monsters? Sure! Anything you say!"

"I really like you, Mr. Jeff."

"Like this, Mr. Jeff? Turn this way? Okay, anything you say!"
Thanks to the beautiful Faith (to the left) and Annie (above). You make me smile every day.
These are two versions of the Ollipheist sweater, a simple ITR drop-shoulder knit with a scaly side and a bony side--reversible so that you can wear whichever side to the front you wish. Feeling scaly? Feeling bony? It works.
Both samples are made with Cascade Cotton Rich DK, a lovely cotton blend. The green and brown was knit by the amazing Shirley and I did the pink and purple one.
What is an Ollipheist , you ask, and why does Jennifer name some of her patterns with these weird, hard-to-pronounce names? Because I love Gaelic and Irish and all Celtic things and I can't help myself! I mean, come on--Figheadh?
The Ollipheist is The Great Beast of legend and is actually a big sea beast. He's a monster! I like to think he has a scaly underbelly and a big bony back, which are represented by these two stitch patterns.
Too much fun.
I'll be back next week with two home decor patterns we added recently.
Have a terrific week! And watch out for those thundersnows!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Lauren & Malcolm

We released six new designs for spring recently, and it's way past time to tell you about them! I'll do them two at a time.

Here's the cutie couple Jen & Chris modeling Lauren and Malcolm at Yorkshire Yarns in Lakewood.

Lauren is made with a lovely Schaefer yarn (info below) and the Malcolm is knit with Cascade Sierra. The Malcolm is a traditional style cable vest. The stitch pattern is so easy--the garter stitch area between cables means that all RS rows are knit. Fun.

Lauren is a tank with two different knit/purl patterns. The center front pattern is the Swirls & Garter pattern that I found in the Vogue Stitchionary: Volume One Knit & Purl. When I saw it I couldn't resist. Then I found the Dry Bones cable in Barbara Walker's Second Treasury and knew they would work well together. The yarn for this sample is Schaefer Susan, a beautiful silky 100% mercerized cotton. I used one of the subtle solids called Daylily.

I also decided to test the versatility of this design by making a Lauren in a yarn more suited for cold weather. This sample uses Cascade Eco Alpaca. The first time I tried this yarn in a caramel color, I made a sample of my Basic Aran Cap and used size 9 needles. Boy was that a loose knit. When I got this grey, I decided to try it as a DK, and I think it performs better that way. The Lauren is worked on size 5 needles, and with Eco Alpaca, I'm getting perfect gauge.

I am done with the front piece (shown here in progress) and am up the back piece a couple of inches. I'll definitely show you when it's done. It's so soft!

I'll be back next week to show you a baby design and one for kids!

Have a yarny week!